Definition of smoke in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.

    ‘bonfire smoke’
    • ‘Instead, the gun emitted a cloud of smoke and grew hot.’
    • ‘It showed the burning house with thick smoke all around it.’
    • ‘When Mr Glister opened the back door to the club he was met by intense heat and thick smoke from his burning car.’
    • ‘The blue-gray smoke of cigars thickened the already thick air.’
    • ‘He said the large volume of smoke was caused by burning tar.’
    • ‘Choking acrid smoke from the burning building engulfed nearby streets and flames could be seen leaping high into the sky.’
    • ‘By then the fire flared again melting a fire hose and sending thick, black smoke billowing from the burning building.’
    • ‘The higher priced candles are often made with lead-free wicks, which eliminates the problem of smoke and carbon buildup.’
    • ‘Those averse to cigarette or cigar smoke may be floored by the cloud of nicotine in the downstairs bar.’
    • ‘The smoke from the cigar dissipated into the atmosphere of the room as he exhaled.’
    • ‘When she reaches the end of the stage, billows of smoke emit from the dragons' mouths, and the audience oohs and aahs.’
    • ‘Owners were given until 1 July 1910 to service their vehicles to ensure that the machines did emit dense smoke.’
    • ‘A thin, twisting and curling column of smoke emitted from the end of the rolled white paper, which hid the dried and crushed marijuana within it.’
    • ‘Sid's shook his head, causing the smoke from the cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth to float up into his eyes.’
    • ‘Cigarette smoke contains a range of xenobiotics, including oxidants and free radicals that can increase lipid peroxidation.’
    • ‘Cigarette smoke not only causes cancer and asthma but causes the skin to lose its elasticity, hence wrinkles around the mouth.’
    • ‘A regular smoker says that the cigar smoke has to be savoured by rolling in the mouth rather than inhaling it.’
    • ‘They had all been sitting around, not doing much, some of the members were smoking cigarettes and the smoke was filling up the room.’
    • ‘Cigarette smoke and nicotine cause the heart rate to raise by 15 to 25 beats per minute.’
    • ‘Five men were led to safety from the upstairs of an Indian restaurant to save them from thick smoke pouring from a burning extractor unit.’
    fumes, exhaust, gas, vapour
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  • 2An act of smoking tobacco.

    ‘I'm dying for a smoke’
    • ‘He says that he'd like one of his cigarettes for a smoke, then runs and smashes his hand through the window and gets a carton.’
    • ‘I found him some tobacco and he had a smoke outside and we drank tea.’
    • ‘Although I was trying to quit smoking, the beer gave me a bad craving and when Mike went for a smoke, I followed and asked to bum one.’
    • ‘Plus, when he went outside the apartment to take a quick smoke, he just looked like those fathers on the 50's sitcoms.’
    1. 2.1informal A cigarette or cigar.
      ‘you're going to buy some smokes of your own’
      • ‘"I came to smoke and talk with my cousin," said Slim Coyote, "so give me a smoke while I'm waiting. He won't mind, he's my cousin."’
      • ‘I heard a voice say hey youngfella, have you got a smoke. I gave him one and we start talking. I ask him how long he has been here.’
      • ‘Chandler pulled out his pack of cigarettes and lit his smoke, after leaning me against the building so I didn't fall over.’
      • ‘In the morning I: grab my smokes and coffee and turn on my computer.’
      • ‘The smokes are made with tobacco specially processed to reduce nitrosamines, among the most abundant and powerful toxin in cigarettes.’
  • 3British informal A big city, especially London.

    ‘she was offered a job in the Smoke’
    • ‘Expect quiet here today, as I'm off to The Smoke for the day.’
    • ‘Another of Hels's friends has just got a good new job close to home, so will no longer need to commute to The Smoke each day.’
    • ‘As you know I had high hopes for this trip to the Smoke.’
    • ‘Thursday was a evening of packing and prep for my trip to the Smoke.’
    • ‘Apparently you can get an illegal handgun down in the Smoke for as little as 2-300.’


  • 1[no object] Emit smoke or visible vapour.

    ‘heat the oil until it just smokes’
    • ‘He was leading her to what appeared to be a central gathering area, where, despite the intense heat of the day, a fire smoked in the centre of the dirt circle.’
    • ‘I skidded to a halt sending sand flying high in the sky as I saw the huts on fire, smoking to the clouds.’
    • ‘The chimneys of the homes smoked as families burned fires inside to keep warm.’
    • ‘In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over a high heat until it is almost smoking.’
    • ‘These chimneys may be hard to start and they may smoke as the fire burns low.’
    • ‘Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan until smoking and add the aubergine and sliced onion.’
    • ‘Ships were still smoking and fires kept breaking out on the harbor and Matt knew that no matter what happened after this, he would never forget it.’
    • ‘In the end, all the enemy blades were burned and still smoking from the fire, lying at the feet of its owners.’
    • ‘He could now see that it was really smoking and a fire was blazing in spite of the rain sheeting down around it.’
    • ‘The fires had to be lit and sometimes were left burning all night if there was a smoke problem, as a ‘clear’ fire never smoked.’
    • ‘Now he looked with anger at the building, still smoking from the fire.’
    • ‘Heat a wok until smoking, add the drained greens and cooked garlic and toss for one to three minutes until heated through.’
    • ‘The fire smoked on, until eventually a fireman was given the all-clear to escort me safely to my door.’
    • ‘The six men in the black van were now spilling out, all with guns in their hands, one just fired and still smoking with gunpowder.’
    • ‘Akina stood up and walked down the beach to where the plane was still smoking, the fire unlikely to stop anytime soon.’
    smoulder, emit smoke, emit fumes
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  • 2[no object] Inhale and exhale the smoke of tobacco or a drug.

    ‘Janine was sitting at the kitchen table smoking’
    [with object] ‘he smoked forty cigarettes a day’
    • ‘There is no ventilation system that reduces or eliminates the carcinogenic products of second-hand smoke or the sidestream smoke from cigarette smoking.’
    • ‘The risk of cardiovascular disease in smokers is proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked and how deeply the smoker inhales, and it is apparently greater for women than men.’
    • ‘For a while in my twenties, I was smoking about forty cigarettes each day.’
    • ‘We examined the effects of passive cigarette smoking in nonasthmatic control children and in asthmatic children separately.’
    • ‘Several years ago, states were suing tobacco companies for medical expenditures resulting from cigarette smoking.’
    • ‘The nicotine patch your doctor has recommended will help make it easier to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.’
    • ‘This study found that sixth graders who reported having used candy cigarettes were twice as likely to have also smoked tobacco cigarettes, regardless of parental smoking status.’
    • ‘It should be stressed to patients that they should completely stop smoking when initiating nicotine patch therapy to avoid adverse effects.’
    • ‘Siva's devotees are forbidden to smoke, chew tobacco or inhale snuff.’
    • ‘The report also showed 10 per cent of pupils were tobacco smokers - smoking at least one cigarette a week.’
    • ‘Living with someone who smokes is not the only relevant source of passive smoking, but few studies have taken account of all sources of exposure.’
    • ‘There are indications that using smokeless tobacco could be as detrimental to fetal health as cigarette smoking.’
    • ‘One of the major problems with smoking and chewing tobacco has to do with the chemical nicotine.’
    • ‘To the sisters' dismay, Mary smoked, chewed tobacco, and drank whiskey.’
    • ‘Wolfstorm lit another cigarette, smoking to pass the time.’
    • ‘And one very elderly man was provided with tobacco which he smoked during his days seated on a bench on the longhouse veranda.’
    • ‘My only regret is that he did not see fit to ban smoking entirely and declare tobacco an illegal drug in this country.’
    • ‘Inside this room were two tables, a group of men sitting in each, some smoking cigars and one smoking what was obviously a joint.’
    • ‘In fact, adolescents typically become addicted at relatively low doses of nicotine. A teenager who smokes just one cigarette a day may have withdrawal symptoms when he or she tries to quit.’
    • ‘He ceased smoking twenty five years prior, having smoked one to two cigarettes a day for ten years.’
    puff on, draw on, pull on
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  • 3[with object] Treat, fumigate, or cleanse by exposure to smoke.

    • ‘The room must be thoroughly smoked, even under the furniture, before the client leaves the room.’
    1. 3.1Cure or preserve (meat or fish) by exposure to smoke.
      ‘smoked salmon’
      • ‘I gave up the fags many years ago but I am unable to give up smoked salmon, smoked trout, smoked bacon and smoked eel.’
      • ‘The latter are dumplings made with Bauernspeck, carefully cured and smoked bacon, a prominent speciality of the whole of the Tyrol.’
      • ‘For more than 2 hours the three ate Tomato and basil pasta, bean salada, fresh herb bread and smoked meat and cheeses.’
      • ‘Use a smoked gammon knuckle, smoked ham hock or whatever smoked bacon bones you can find - or talk your butcher into selling you the ham bone when they get to the end of carving off the meat.’
      • ‘Smoked salmon can be substituted by any oily fish or even smoked venison or duck.’
      cure, preserve, dry
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    2. 3.2Treat (glass) so as to darken it.
      ‘the smoked glass of his lenses’
      • ‘For Tantalus the Greek designer, Dionysius Fotopoulis, uses a smoked glass backdrop, creating the illusion of greater space and a sense of the play being a reflection of all our lives.’
      • ‘The outside is smoked glass decorated with a swirling pattern made from what looks like beaten copper.’
      • ‘Coke's chemists still work behind smoked glass surrounded by security guards.’
      • ‘Finding glass of such thickness is certainly going to prove quite difficult, especially as smoked glass is generally manufactured only up to 12 mm thick.’
      • ‘A twenty-first-century affair, of smoked glass, presence and inclusion, cinemas and escalators and bars, the Omni building promises leisure for all.’
    3. 3.3Subdue (insects, especially bees) by exposing them to smoke.
      ‘they then smoke the bees until they are stupid’
      • ‘Then a fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the bees from their honeycombs.’
      • ‘Pry the top off the hive, slowly continuing to smoke the bees inside. Lift one corner and apply smoke. Next, move to each of the other corners and repeat.’
      • ‘When reassembling the hive, smoke the bees so that they move down and pause slightly before replacing hive bodies or covers.’
    4. 3.4Drive someone or something out of a place by using smoke.
      ‘we will fire the roof and smoke him out’
      • ‘Or do they use of gas or smoke to try to smoke these people out?’
    5. 3.5Force someone to make something known.
      ‘as the press smokes him out on other human rights issues, he will be revealed as a social conservative’
      • ‘The disclosure provision in the City Council's reparations bill will smoke them out.’
  • 4North American informal [with object] Kill (someone) by shooting.

    ‘they gotta go smoke this person’
    • ‘And he tells us to smoke him. [Intel] would tell the Lieutenant that he had to smoke the prisoners and that is what we were told to do.’
    • ‘I put the gun in his mouth and smoked him.’
    • ‘He said, ‘You are a big lad so if you move I'll smoke you’.’
    • ‘Alvin Houston testified that after the shooting on April 16, Jackson and Moore came to his apartment and Moore said, "we smoked him, man, we smoked that bastard," referring to Rodriguez.’
    1. 4.1Defeat overwhelmingly in a fight or contest.
      ‘I got smoked in that fight’
      • ‘There aren't too many girls out here on terrain, so it makes me happy when I see a girl that can easily smoke the boys.’
      • ‘We were completely smoked by the competition in our first race.’
      • ‘The excuses they came up with were unbelievable, they were completely smoked in the game, just lick your wounds, give the other team the credit they deserve.’
      • ‘Kathy smoked him in that final round and he received a C while she received an AA with 15 Greats.’
      • ‘He does not look it, but in high school, he'd smoke me at arm wrestling every time.’
  • 5archaic [with object] Make fun of (someone)

    ‘we baited her and smoked her’
    make fun of, poke fun at, chaff, make jokes about, rag, mock, laugh at, guy, satirize, be sarcastic about
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  • go up in smoke

    • 1informal Be destroyed by fire.

      ‘three hundred tons of straw went up in smoke’
      • ‘Vital funding for Settle Swimming Pool has gone up in smoke after vandals again set fire to a paper recycling trailer.’
      • ‘She pulled over and immediately got the passengers out before the whole bus went up in smoke.’
      • ‘The blaze at Clarks' Farm in Crabb's Lane, Kelvedon, started after a trailer load of hemp stored within a corrugated steel barn went up in smoke.’
      • ‘Fires started spontaneously and kitchen appliances went up in smoke.’
      • ‘A TEENAGER'S Christmas presents went up in smoke when a fire caused by a scented candle destroyed her bedroom.’
      • ‘They have been in the shadow of a smouldering eyesore since Brimrod Mill and the tyres depot inside went up in smoke in November 2002.’
      • ‘When a fire swept through her neighborhood, her home and the beautiful trees all went up in smoke.’
      • ‘An elderly couple today told how they could only stand and watch as hundreds of pounds worth of property went up in smoke after arsonists struck at their home.’
      • ‘IT is 11 months since Hilary Baker and Mac Turner watched helplessly as their Castle Combe home and business went up in smoke.’
      • ‘How did she feel when the embroidered tent, along with some of her other pieces, went up in smoke earlier this year?’
      1. 1.1(of a plan) come to nothing.
        ‘more than one dream is about to go up in smoke’
        • ‘Most of the evidence against his killers went up in smoke after his murder.’
        • ‘The new Pension Protection Fund will bail out pensioners whose companies go bust in future and the Government has gone part way to help those whose pensions have already gone up in smoke with an offer of £400m in compensation.’
        • ‘That plan almost went up in smoke in an instant, but Hartley's strike from the edge of the area went narrowly wide for Hearts.’
        • ‘‘All that work on a bill of some twelve hundred pages had gone up in smoke,’ he writes of an energy bill passed by the House that didn't make it through the Senate.’
        • ‘Well I gave it a try and quickly discovered that I had two left feet and my dreams went up in smoke.’
        • ‘Unsurprisingly, morale was low and normal etiquette went up in smoke.’
        • ‘If that had been a harder frost, it could have been a year's worth of work gone up in smoke.’
        • ‘But in the mid-1960s divorce was a disaster, and people did feel like a failure because their American dream had gone up in smoke.’
        • ‘But that plan went up in smoke with the granting of planning permission for the Bellanaboy terminal.’
        • ‘But as retirement nears, the company and its pension scheme goes up in smoke and with it your plans for a comfortable old age.’
        go awry, go amiss, go adrift, go off course, fail, not succeed, be unsuccessful, go badly, be ruined, fall through, fall flat, fall apart, come apart at the seams, break down, come to nothing, flounder, collapse, meet with disaster, backfire, rebound, boomerang, misfire, miscarry, abort
        View synonyms
  • in (or into) smoke

    • informal In (or into) hiding.

      ‘he slipped ashore and went into smoke’
      • ‘Brigalow Bill was murdered and Colorado Jack had gone into smoke.’
      • ‘Green went into smoke and was not found until early December.’
      • ‘The always well-dressed Harrison was in smoke at the time.’
      • ‘Just a few months earlier, Mona had gone into smoke after being accused of stabbing Hilda Lane.’
      • ‘Bert, if indeed that was his name, had also gone into smoke.’
  • no smoke without fire (north american also where there's smoke there's fire)

    • proverb There's always some reason for a rumour.

      • ‘There is no smoke without fire and I would not be surprised if something happens in the next six months.’
      • ‘I hope that people who know me will dismiss it as nonsense, but people have a tendency to think there's no smoke without fire.’
      • ‘I am not an expert, but there's no smoke without fire, and there are health concerns associated with mobile phones and the technology they run on.’
      • ‘Despite the denial, instinct says there is no smoke without fire.’
      • ‘It certainly isn't true, but there are people who believe there's no smoke without fire.’
      • ‘It seems unlikely that Scoot is as bad as it has been painted but wise old grandfathers have been known to say that there is no smoke without fire.’
      • ‘But, he put on the agenda several things that I don't think anyone outside of a little Labor circle had ever heard of, and he put them out there on the agenda, and I think some people will say where there's smoke there's fire.’
      • ‘The Spanish were quick to insist that no takeover talks were going on with their British counterparts, but industry sources suggest that, in this instance, there is no smoke without fire.’
      • ‘Once the question is posed people conclude there is no smoke without fire.’
      • ‘Many people assume there is no smoke without fire and my client has been denied the opportunity of being found not guilty.’
  • smoke and mirrors

    • The obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information.

      ‘the budget process is an exercise in smoke and mirrors’
      • ‘Maybe no one would quite believe that he had no designs on the top job, but politics is all smoke and mirrors.’
      • ‘Major accounting firms were all too happy to be deceived by corporate smoke and mirrors, as long as they got lucrative consulting contracts.’
      • ‘And I think what's going on here is smoke and mirrors and not science.’
      • ‘Would you believe that all this ‘informed’ blather is just smoke and mirrors?’
      • ‘The truth here is not even obscured with the usual smoke and mirrors.’
  • smoke like a chimney

    • Smoke tobacco incessantly.

      ‘ironic—you smoke like a chimney and the lungs are OK’
      • ‘MICHAEL DELVECCHIO tells, ‘She was drinking and smoking like a chimney, so we asked the security guard to tell her to put out her cigarette because there were young children present, but she just kept on doing it..’’
      • ‘My husband never smoked, but he grew up in a house where his father smoked like a chimney, a total chain smoker.’
      • ‘I actually like the smell of stale cigarette smoke, because my grandmother, whose visits I loved as a kid, smoked like a chimney.’
      • ‘Minttu smokes like a chimney… so I smoked too (like I needed an excuse).’
      • ‘Black says, quote, ‘I went on a kind of crazy rampage, me and another member of the cast, who will remain nameless, just running around, dancing around, and drinking, and exercising, and smoking like a chimney.’’


Old English smoca (noun), smocian (verb), from the Germanic base of smēocan emit smoke; related to Dutch smook and German Schmauch.